REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL!
Russ Douglas is back - and he’s better than he was
Whilst reviewing the P320 for the October issue, I was initially disappointed with my first groups indoors at 10m. I consoled myself that it’s intended to be more of a fun/plinking pistol after all, rather than a high-scoring paper puncher. Recently, I gave it another chance after getting decent results outdoors at 6m outside, against the pellet tin targets – where I could reassuringly hit the tins 10/10, offhand and seated.
Lo and behold, I got a 30-shot group at 10m of just under 8cm/3”; this was seated, two-handed, with my left elbow resting on the shooting table.
ALWAYS ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
My introduction to airguns was with a secondhand .22 Webley Tempest, in my parent’s garden, and I very nearly bought one last week at a local RFD for old time’s sake. I managed to resist – sorry Graham, at Sloan’s – when thinking of the C02 pistols I already have to which I’m not yet fully accustomed. Generally, I’m not a naturally accurate pistol shooter, but I aim to work on that, especially indoors in the coming cold winter months.
LEADING-UP THE BARREL – DEFINITELY LEGIT
At the start of the year, I bought a new Dan Wesson 715 8” revolver. I was seduced by the visual appeal of the gun, as well as hoping that the 8” rifled barrel would help to produce some good groups downrange. I was initially disappointed, and then blamed the gun itself after realising that the ‘8” barrel, rifled’ – quoting the packaging; note it’s carefully worded not to mention 8” of rifled barrel. It is actually an 8” long, bull-style, over-barrel shroud, 6mm inside diameter, with a 2.5” long .177” rifled sleeve within. The RFD Core94 checked with their supplier (ASG) and were told, ‘that’s how it comes”, so no comeback there.
Feeling somewhat disgruntled, like I’d bought a pig in a poke, I sold the DW on to a friend, Bri, after making him aware of the shorter rifled sleeve, in the interest of honesty between friends.
A few months later, Bri showed me some very respectable groups shot with the DW, so I naturally felt that I can’t be that good a shot; I must be the weak link after all, but recent follow-up shooting indoors at 10m with the SIG P320 saw me putting 30 shots within the diameter of a pellet tin.
THE PENNY DROPS
I believe there are two reasons for my improvement:
“I adjusted for elevation by aiming at the low edge of the inner white ring”
1. This was a few weeks prior to reading fellow contributor, and more experienced pistol shot, John Milewski’s excellent article in the current October issue of AGW. My grey cell remembered from who knows where that I’m supposed to be focusing on the fore sight, then aligning that and the rear sight, and then lining these two up UNDERNEATH the blurry dot of the target bullseye. I think I’d been trying to aim instinctively, whilst focusing on the centre of the target itself.
John mentioned a tip he uses, leaving a little bit of white between the aligned sights and the blurry target, which then led me to realise that all targets are not the same. Basically, if the black bull is 1” diameter and with non-adjustable sights I’m shooting 2” high, I should try a target with a larger bull, e.g. nearer 3” or 4”, to avoid having to aim-off vertically.
2. My second conclusion was a combination of further shooting with the SIG P320, and Bri’s experience with the rifled DW 715. I’ve concluded that new pistols might well take a while to lead-up and settle-in to get the best out of their accuracy potential. This was explained quite well in a recent article I read whereby lead build-up is perhaps filling in and smoothing out imperfections in the barrel, and so a boon to accurate shooting.
As if to provide a convenient self-check that I really can hit a barn door after all, I also shot with the wee Gamo PT-80 pistol at 10m the same evening – same ambient conditions etc., and shot several very respectable groups, the best of which was 1.3” diameter, also using two hands, seated offhand and resting my left elbow on the shooting table.
Here, after a few magazine’s-worth of test shots, I adjusted for elevation by aiming at the low edge of the inner white ring. After the initial shots impacted 2” to the left, I then aimed off the same distance to the right – see the ‘X’ on the target photo. In time, I’ll see if I can drift the front or rear sight, one of which is manually adjustable, I hope, to correct for the windage, but I’m very happy with a 1.3” group from a mostly plastic CO2 pistol with a 4” barrel at 10m.
Hope all this helps some of you – and enjoy your shooting!
1. SIG P320, RWS Basic pellets (7gr), 12gm Umarex CO2 & Pellgun Oil: BAR (Blackpool Air Rifles / airgunbuyer.com) 2. GAMO PT-80 pistol: gift from a friend pre-Scottish licensing, who inherited it but opted not to get a licence himself, and wanted it to go to a good home. I
Shooter ready! Mags loaded and target heading downrange.
Improved SIG P320 10m 30-shot group indoors.
Loading the Gamo with its 8-shot plastic mag’.
Decent 1.3” group from the Gamo PT-80 at 10m.
I adjusted my aim to centre the shots.